The Supreme Court’s ruled today in the Masterpiece Cake case that the state of Colorado had followed a flawed process against the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple because it was not neutral in its approach to religion. At the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (CLGS), we decry both the use of religion as an excuse for discrimination and disrespectful attitudes toward religious beliefs. We are encouraged by the fact that the decision focused on issues related to the decision-making process of this specific case and did not endorse a constitutional right to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
We agree with Justice Kennedy’s statement that “… disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.” At CLGS, we affirm that people can practice their faith while simultaneously respecting the rights of others to live freely.
Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow, who coordinates CLGS’s work on religious liberty, comments, “We are incredibly fortunate that people of faith in America have many ways they can express their religious beliefs but using those beliefs to discriminate against a class of people must not be one of them. An individual’s religious conviction should never be made into a matter of public policy and law. CLGS will continue the work of defending the rights of all citizens to be treated with dignity and educating the public on the original intent of religious liberty that does not bring harm to others.”
CLGS has published a curriculum for use by church groups and individuals about the history of religious liberty and the ways the issues have been distorted to provide support for the legalization of discrimination. You can download the free resource here.